Finally, more snaps from Germany! We visited Beilstein, Loreley and Düsseldorf. Though very little pictures from Düsseldorf I’m afraid. We first went into the little Japantown-area and got stuck there with our hunt for food (in which we succeeded greatly if I may say so). And after checking out the city centre we decided to call it a day and get stuck in traffic for more than half the way home. With some serious karaoke sessions on song like Mr. Roboto and Fantastic Baby our day was complete.

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A little time ago I jumped into a car with my friend to see the Mosel river. And it was stunning. Our four day trip involved seeing Koblenz, Düsseldorf and all kinds of little German towns and castles along the riverbanks. Nothing too fancy, just really relaxing, nostalgic and pretty. The first two days we visited Koblenz, ventured around in our own ‘neighbourhood’ and went to see Burg Eltz. Oh man, I got all psyched to watch Kiki’s Delivery Service again!

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Herro, I’m back from bedazzling Berlin! Oh, what a marvellous city, I fell in love all over again. Last year (see here) it was my first stop during my inter-railing trip, and it was my first time Berlin. This year, I finally got the chance to understand the city so much better. It’s the home of my heritage theories professor, and of lots and lots of history. I got the chance to see a lot behind-the-scenes stuff, it was hard to capture through my camera’s lens because of the layered history of all the places I visited. But here’s my attempt, it’s a bit photo heavy.. but I’m happy to explain a thing or two for you.

If you follow my on instagram, you probably have seen some things already. Either way, photos are in chronological order, I’ve seen Berlin on bike, been to Potsdam, to the Jüdisches Museum, the Stasi Archiv, the Kultur Forum, prepared and given a tour in the Altes museum (won the shared 1st place of all the tours on the Museum Insel with my group, whoo) and finished friday morning with pie and darjeeling tea at KaDeWe. It was amazeballs.

We arrived in Berlin around 1 or 2 in the afternoon, and got the chance to fix our own lunch before heading to the bike rental. Our hostel was placed near Alexanderplatz, in a pretty cute neighbourhood with lots of fancy shops and small restaurants and café’s.

We got a tour on bike through pretty much the whole of Berlin, which was pretty ok. But better for those who actually like being on a bike for almost 4 hours. We’ve seen a lot, and got explained some things about places throughout Berlin, but I think the guide of our group wasn’t having his day. So other groups got a lot more out of their biketour. Lucky them. — Checkpoint Charlie was included in the tour, but really… I think I hate that place so much. It’s really made for ignorant tourists who just want a little culture in between their party-holiday, even the historical context of how that place looks right now doesn’t seem right. It’s almost a plastic piece of history, just made real simple and maybe even stupid?

But I’ve got to say, there are still a lot of interesting places to see in Berlin where history is beautifully displayed. Some places where the wall is featured, next to an information centre. Or a house where the bullet holes of World War II are still intact. Very, very intriguing.

The second day I went to visit Potsdam with my group. Unfortunately, the weather was a disaster and I didn’t bring an umbrella. My law professor lend me his extra, so it was all pretty ok. It was interesting to see Potsdam and the park full of Palaces of the former royal family Hohenzollerns. Cecilienhof was the place where the Potsdam Agreement was signed between the UK, USA and USSR. — I thought the Sanssouci palace was the most impressive of all (picture above), but we got there after closing time which was a shame.

This third day was brilliant, even though my feet were hurting like hell I loved visiting the Jüdishes Museum and the Stasi Archiv. The Jüdisches Museum is situated in a strange but, in my opinion, beautiful modern building (outside pictures). It’s not very handy, but I love the spaces and the atmosphere.

The Stasi Archiv was situated in the Stasi Complex, if you look here you can see how huge the complex is. We got a presentation by two of the employees and a little tour around the building. To hear the real facts about the history of the Stasi and how it operated way back when, but also to get a glimpse how people deal with all the facts of the people who were victims of the Stasi was very… cool actually. The whole atmosphere around the building was still very secretive, even though they are trying not to.

Day four, this was the day I won something for the first time in my life. At the Kultur Forum we got more insight about the new Stadtschloss that is being built, and in the afternoon all we did was race around the Museum Insel trying to give a good tour or be a good follower of someone’s tour. Until 5 pm it stayed sunny, but when we got leave for drinks with the whole group as a sort of ending, it started pouring. A bit sad, but the drinks were still good.

If this last picture made you think of Gatsby, you won the toaster! KaDeWe has wonderful shop windows, and this was one of them. I can’t wait to see The Great Gatsby coming week. KaDeWe was wonderful, I got my Lindt Sauerkirsh-Chili Chocolate as I wished.

Trainrides always seem a bit melancholic to me, and the week in Berlin is going to be all Cultural Heritage: World Wars, the monarchy and Potsdam, Stasi Archiv, lots and lots of history and difficult issues that took place in Berlin in the past. It’s going to be a blast, but it’s going to be an overload with kind-of-depressing-stuff. So I made a kind-of-depressing-but-not-playlist. – Have a good week! I’ll be back next weekend and pictures will come up soon.

Berlin was the very first stop of our journey. And it has been a great stop too, we’ve seen an awful lot of things, and I’m glad that I need to go during spring in 2013 with uni so I can explore the city some more. I felt bad I hadn’t been in Berlin before, it was only a train-ride of 6 or 7 hours. The city radiated so much history, art and elegance while being very… modern. The cake above was the first cake of our trip, (followed by a lot more, hehe). But this was a great start, while sitting in a little corner on the food-floor of the KaDeWe department store.

The architecture in Berlin was really beautiful. Lots of it was being restored at Unter den Linden, but it was really like a stroll through the century seeing all kinds of palaces, universities and museums. The Brandenburger Tor was nice to see, as was the Holocaust monument everybody seems to have an opinion about (I thought it was astonishing, the feel between those big, dark blocks is a tiny bit suffocating when looking up. But the kids who like to jump over them make that atmosphere a little less…dark. But all in all, very impressive).

We have walked an awful lot in Berlin (we did too in other cities, mind you), that’s why I had monstrous blisters after the whole trip… but we got a great view on the architecture by walking through the different parts of the city. – I’m not complaining, those blisters are almost gone already, sort of!

We haven’t visited lots of museums during our trip in Berlin, only the Guggenheim got a visit (it was for free, cheapskate…me? nahh!). The exposition was of a project of Gabriel Orozco, a very impressive display of classification and arrangement. It was a mess, but it wasn’t. It maybe was a shame we didn’t visit more museums in Berlin, but I’m sure I will when I’m going next year.

The museum-shop had all kinds of funky items, as usual in Guggenheim’s, but I first got in touch with the miraculous ‘masking tape‘ which has released the inner scrapbookaholic in me – my mom and I have decided to make a cookbook (WITH MASKING-TAPE) for ourselves with the recipes we’ve collected for over the years, after trying them all out, yay!

Our little hotel was near Alexanderplatz, on the way to Prenzlauerberg. So of course we got out and about and explored that area of the city as well. Prenzlauerberg had a great atmosphere, lots of cute shops, nice-looking restaurants and cafés and really cute houses in different colours. At one of the shops was a booksale outside, of course I couldn’t resist and made my backpack a little heavier to carry around. Hehe.

Below is one of the ‘shoko-croissants’ I got as breakfast. Yes, I know… but it was really delicious (!!). We hardly ever had breakfast at the place we stayed because…that’s no fun. It’s always ‘american breakfast’-style with some soggy buns and yoghurts lying around… I prefer to get out and about and explore local bakeries and supermarkets.